Spectra Point, Ramparts Overlook, and Bartizan ArchCedar Breaks National Monument, Ut
Amazing Views, Geological Wonders, and History
Difficulty: Easy to Hard
Length: 1.9 – 5.3 mi
Elevation Gain: 353 – 1207 ft
Approximate Hiking Time: 1-5 hr
Features: Geological Features
Nearest Town: Cedar City, Ut
Panoramic views of Cedar Breaks await a hike to Spectra Point and Ramparts Overlook. Arguably some of the best views of the hoodoos in the park can be found after a hike at over 10,000ft!
Check out the amazing geological features and rainbow of colors along the path.
- Trail Condition 85% 85%
- Usage 95% 95%
- Trail Head Easy to Find 100% 100%
- Kid Friendly 80% 80%
1. Amazing Landscape Views
Cedar Breaks geology is breathtakingly beautiful whether you check it out from one of many adhoc viewpoints or from an “official” viewpoint.
2. Bartizan Arch
Check out the really cool Bartizan Arch if you’re up for some trail finding and extending your hike.
3. Flora and Fauna
Bristlecone Pines can live for thousands of years. You’ll be able to see some of the older Bristlecone Pines on this trail. Plus get the chance to walk through a high alpine forest and view beautiful flowers if they’re in bloom during your visit.
The trailhead is located about 20 ft from the bathrooms near the Cedar Breaks Visitor Center. National Parks fees are applicable for this trail and can be paid at the fee station on the other side of the bathrooms.
At the start of the trail you’ll pass a couple signs outlining what flora and fauna you might find on the hike. Arguably, the most important information regards safety during thunderstorms and lightning strikes. As the sign details, the trail should not be hiked in inclement weather as the viewpoints are often hit by lightning.
Continue on the trail, stopping to admire the amazing views along the way. While most of these are not “official” viewpoints, each one seems to give a different perspective of the area.
After 0.5 mile of hiking there is a trail spur that goes to one of the original cabins in Cedar Breaks. Thought to be used as a power house and storage area, it was forgotten when the Cedar Breaks Lodge was torn down in the 1970’s. It still stands today and is in great condition.
From the cabin continue to follow the trail past the water towers which is also the highest point of the hike at 10,350 ft. The trail starts to descend here. At this altitude it takes about 1.5 to 2x longer to ascend a trail then it does to descend. Plan accordingly.
Spectra Point Overlook
It is possible to see the Spectra Point Overlook from the water towers. From the water towers the trail descends to the breathtaking Spectra Point Overlook.
Spectra Point provides outstanding views of the Breaks and it’s easy to see why it’s called Spectra Point. Hoodoos, fins, and other incredible geological features dominate the landscape. While reds, oranges, greens, and blue paint the landscape a spectrum of color.
Spectra Point is also a great place to check out some of the park’s Bristlecone Pines. Did you know the oldest Bristlecone Pine in the park is more than 4500 years old?
A hike to Spectra Point and back to the trailhead is rated as easy. Hiking to Spectra Point is a must offering amazing views of Cedar Breaks and possibly some of the best views in the park. As a plus, the Overlook is fenced so it’s a great overlook to visit with kids; though the trail does have some drops along the route.
For a more moderate hike continue on to the Ramparts Overlook. Ramparts Overlook is another mile of walking from Spectra Point and the trail descends 430 ft along the path. Shortly after starting the descent, the trail turns to switch backs for about 0.4 miles. At the end of the switchbaks the trail turns into a more gradual descent to the Ramparts Overlook.
Once the trail begins its more gradual descent keep an eye out for a little waterfall. It feels reminiscent of a zen garden and is a great place for a little break.
Along this part of the trail there are some steep drop-offs to watch out for. We tried to keep the kids to the inside of the trail as much as possible to avoid the really steep areas.
Ramparts Overlook is not fenced. If travelling with small children keep a close eye on them as the drops at the overlook are very steep.
Ramparts Overlook gives a totally different perspective of the geological features of the park. Breathtaking in its views, naked in its exposure, and offering up views that can’t be seen elsewhere in the park, its worth the trip if you’re up for the hike.
Officially, the trail ends at the Ramparts Trail Overlook. There’s even a sign marking this as the end of the trail. That said, there is an unmaintained trail requiring some trail finding that continues on to Bartizan Arch. If you are comfortable with navigation and steep slopes you can continue on from the Ramparts Overlook to Bartizan Arch. This part of the trail is rated as hard.
Hiking to the arch will require some trail finding, climbing over fallen trees, and a very narrow path on a ridge. If you have the skills and desire to make the hike though, it’s totally worth it. The trail follows the ridge from Ramparts Overlook for a distance before descending towards the arch. Leaving the ridge the trail drops through a rocky area where the path is very faint and in places not marked at all.
Once the edge of the forest is reached the path becomes much clearer. Walking through the forest is a great break from the sun and your senses will be filled with the smell of fresh pine needles. There are some areas where trees have fallen and you may need to climb over them.
As the trail leaves the forest it becomes very well defined as it traverses The Bartizan. Footing can be slippery through here as the trail is quite pebbly and very narrow. Bartizan Arch can be seen along this trail.
The trail seemingly ends at a stopping point with great views of Bartizan Arch. It’s a beautiful triple arch. Two arches are clearly visible from the trail, while the third arch is tucked in behind and harder to see. Note that it’s not possible to get right up to the arch.
While it is possible to ascend to the summit of The Bartizan, the trail is faint, narrow with steep drop offs, and not recommended for small children. When you’re done exploring follow the trail back to the trailhead.
Why is this hike rated easy to hard?
Difficulty for this hike really depends on where your end point is.
Spectra Point is about 1.7 miles round trip with an elevation change of only 353 ft. While the trail has a few steep drop offs, the path is very wide and well-defined, ending at a fenced viewpoint. It is rated as easy.
Rated as moderate, Ramparts Overlook is about 3.7 miles round trip (from the trailhead) with a total elevation change of 783 ft. This section of the trail has some steep unprotected drop-offs, switch backs, and ends at a viewpoint that is not fenced.
Completeing the full hike from the trailhead to Bartizan Arch is rated as hard. Hiking from the Ramparts Overlook to Bartizan Arch requires some trail finding, steep drop-offs, narrow trail sections, and big elevation gains. Hiking to Bartizan Arch is around 5.3 miles with a total elevation gain around 1207 ft.
More Hikes to Choose From
Check out this and more hikes in and around Cedar Breaks National Monument and Cedar City.
Length: 0.3 mi
Elevation Gain: 20ft
Point Supreme Overlook provides a great starting point to exploring Cedar Breaks National Monument.
Experience the kaleidoscope of colors offered by the geological features of Cedar Breaks National Park.